Men’s basketball loss streak reaches 5

By Chris Loggins

Men’s basketball lost its fifth game in a row Tuesday, falling to Kent State University 75-74 and falling to 16-8 on the season.

The Huskies trailed by seven points in the final minute but were able to come back and take the lead with less than 10 seconds remaining. Kent State was able to push ahead for the one-point lead after game-clinching free throws from graduate student guard Galal Cancer. The Golden Flashes outrebounded NIU 41-31 and shot 44 percent for the game. NIU shot 44 percent for the game and 47 percent from three.

Junior guard Aaric Armstead led the Huskies, scoring a game-high 22 points and pulling down five rebounds. He was one of three Huskies in double figures. Senior center Khaliq Spicer was one of four Flashes in double figures, scoring 17 points and grabbing seven boards in 27 minutes.

“It was one of those games,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery, according to an NIU Athletics news release. “We kept fighting. Both teams played hard, but we didn’t stop playing. I’m happy with the guys that they didn’t stop playing. I thought our full-court pressure bothered them. Sometimes you need a little luck on your side and it is unfortunate because our guys played their hearts out.

“I liked how our guys fought, they fought hard. Aaric Armstead was huge with those threes, Travon Baker made a couple of clutch plays, but we just came up a little bit short.”

NIU’s losing streak comes at an unfortunate time — the team was 16-3 and on pace to possibly surpass 25 wins. With seven games remaining in the regular season, the most wins the Huskies can finish with is 23. A 20-win season would still be an impressive feat for a team that hasn’t done so in a very long time.

It may be best for the team to hit its skid at this point. Much of its recent poor play can be attested to fatigue, and it may spark more inspired play as the season winds down. The Huskies have also fallen below .500 in conference play and have fallen to fourth place in the MAC West after spending most of the season in first.